Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mac Wiseman receives Heritage honors

Mac Wiseman, the "voice with a heart," is one of the 2008 honorees by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Mac received a National Heritage Award, which was established "as a way of honoring American folk artists for their contributions to our national cultural mosaic. Modelled after the Japanese "National Living Treasures" concept, the idea began with Bess Lomax Hawes, then director of the Folk Arts Program. Since its inception, over 300 artists have received the Heritage Award," said the NEA.
Mac is joined by a diverse group of musicians, artists and craftsmen, ranging from a saddle maker to a master of the Brazilian martial art/dance form capoeira.
I've once heard that one of the signs of a great singer is whether you can immediately recognize his or her voice. That is definitely true with Mac. Here's a clip of him singing Wabash Cannonball.
I didn't know until working on this posting that Mac recorded an album of Gordon Lightfoot songs in 1977.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The title is intriguing, anyway

I came across this listing on ebay. I don't vouch for the book, but I'll probably have to take a look at it.
It is common knowledge that bluegrass festivals can provide enough material for screenplays, plays, novels, musicals and HBO mini-series.
Here's a longer description on Book Locker.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Applications open for Toronto subway program

The Toronto Transit Commission is accepting applications for auditions to perform in the city subway system. On top of the audition, performers must pay $150. This makes one appreciate the New York MTA Music Under New York program, which does not charge a fee.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Gig at Audubon Strings

It was a special night when Jon Swift and I played at Audubon Strings (a violin shop in New Haven's arts district. First, it's always fun to play purely acoustically, with no mics or sound system. Then, Stacy Phillips, Grammy winning dobro player for his involvement on The Great Dobro Sessions, came by with his fiddle on the way from a rehearsal. He was gracious enough to sit in on several tunes with us. We truly appreciate it.
A very special thanks to Biff Cuthbert for taking the photo. See more about some of his projects, including Zendo Tavern.

Jon and I have a gig June 14 at Cafe Atlantique in Milford.

Friday, May 16, 2008

MUNY class of 2008 is selected

The MTA has selected 23 performers to be added to the Music Under New York program. See the Times story here.
Congratulations to fellow Conn. bluesman Dan Stevens for making the cut.
Meanwhile, I'm tired of reading articles referring to auditions for "subway idol," as if "American Idol" is the most representative and ideal collection of talent.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Blues Highway

Highway 61 - the legendary highway of the blues - will be formally designated as the blues highway by the State of Mississippi.

Friday, May 2, 2008

MUNY Auditions

The Music Under New York program, of which I am a member, held its annual auditions yesterday in Grand Central Station. The Times report is here.
Just to make it to the auditions is an accomplishment. Potential players must submit materials in advance in order to be considered for one of the audition slots.

I haven't scheduled a subway gig since early March. Tim and Scott, if you're reading this, I haven't dropped out -- we're doing a major house rehab project. I'll be back soon, I hope.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Emmylou, Pop Stoneman, enter HOF

Congratulations to Emmylou Harris and Ernest V. "Pop" Stoneman for their induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Pop was one of the participants in the historic Bristol Sessions of 1927.
In the famous Bristol mural, shown at right, Pope is the guitar player partially hidden by the temporary stage.

Playing for Change at Tribeca Film Festival

Playing for Change, which I mentioned on Feb 9, is playing the Tribeca fest, and gets a generally positive review in AM New York.
I must say that reading about the film, and with spring finally arriving in New England, I'm anxious to get out and play. However, plastering and painting our new old house is taking precedence at the moment. Soon enough.

Dobro player gets the girl!

Congratulations to Andy Hall of the Infamous Stringdusters. According to, Andy proposed to his fiance on stage at the Merlefest in Wilkesboro, NC.

There's a couple of degrees of separation between Andy and myself. I formerly played with Amy Gallatin and Stillwaters. Andy played several gigs with the band in the early 2000s, if memory serves me correct.

Congratulations to Andy and his fiance, and I apologize for not knowing the young woman's name.